scrappy lampshade tutorial (and long story)

awhile back i found this beautiful lampshade skeleton.  i knew immediately it would hang above the girls’ window seat in their room, but not sure yet what form it would actually take.

so i started with some pretty silk chantung, ruffled with raw edges.  i thought it would be the perfect girly addition to the girls’ room.  but then i had to take it a step further.

meet the fiesta FAIL.  i thought it needed more color, the white was too plain and clean.

so the lamp shade sat and sat and sat on top of lily’s dresser, waiting for me to actually hang it up in their room.

but i couldn’t stand it!

then at the queen bee market in may i saw april’s beautiful booth and her hanging, naked lampshades!  i knew right away that this is what i wanted to do!  i was woo’ed by the pretty, bare lampshade when i first saw it, and i was reminded by april that i could leave it just like that!

so i went home and ripped off all that hideousness (and apparently didn’t even bother to pull off the stray threads!).

and i loved it.  I loved it.   the girls, not so much.  they kept asking when i was going to finish the shade.

then last week when we were in santa barbara, i snuck away for an hour to go to anthro *sigh*.  as i was running and leaping over puddles back to my car in the downpour, i passed the free people store, and something caught my eye.  it was raining too hard to take out my phone (plus i forgot an umbrella), but they had lanterns, like the paper covered round chinese lanterns, but without the paper and only the skeleton.  but there were strands of fabric (i think – it was seriously for about 1/2 a second i glanced at it!) strung between the wire frame pieces of the lantern and then *light bulb* i had an idea for the girls lampshade!

so i grabbed my scissors and a pile of scrap strips (i have a ton of these from all my ruffles).

the strips were all random lengths and widths, but mostly between 1 and 2  inches wide.

first step: knot on end of the fabric to a bar.  tricky, i know.

step 2: pull fabric to nearest bar and tie there, with a little tension.  i just tried to make sure the fabric was not twisted between the bars so the front of the fabric was facing out.  then i trimmed the end and started over again.

step 3:  do it over and over and over again.  go to bed, then do more the next day.

how fun is that?!  the girls are super happy with it.  so am i!

and look at it at night!  soooo fun!

but even better, look at the shadows it creates – a cross between a spider web and a snowflake!

look at all those fun colors!

i love seeing all the pretty fabrics that i’ve used over the last year or so on fun products.

so… what do you think?


  1. 1

    Lindsey, I’m gasping at how beautiful that is!! Two of my daughters share a room and that would be lovely in their room. I’ve read your blog for awhile now, and I enjoy the mix of post you write. I would love to see a blog post on how you manage to get so much accomplished in a day. I opened up an etsy shop and have three kiddos and work part time. Sometimes I find it hard to keep it all balanced. Thanks!

  2. 2

    That is genius! I never ever ever would have thought something so simple could look so terrific. I think the colors and texture are beautiful, but I absolutely love the shadows. Thanks for sharing!

  3. 3

    Well that is just tooooo cool! You are so creative! I would have never thought of that!

  4. 4

    Oh my! I LOVE it! Such a great idea!

  5. 5

    The final product is so cute! Perfect for a little girls room. Love it!

  6. 6

    That is perfect! I love it!

  7. 7

    you are so darn creative!!! can i please have just one ounce of your creativity to work with….mmmkay thanks!!
    love love love the shade!

  8. 8

    Wow, that is so FUN & who would have ever thought?!? Kinda makes me wish I had some little girls to create one of those for! I don’t think it would go over in the boys’ room so well…

  9. 11

    that is just adorable!

  10. 12

    I LOVE that !!!

  11. 13

    This is a project that if you just described it to me, in words, I’d look at you like you were crazy. Seeing it, though, it looks really cute for a little girls room! I’m imagining how cool it would me in a monochromatic scheme, too — like, white laces and sheer fabrics? Very creative and fun!

  12. 14

    I really really really really love this…..on a hunt now for a lampshade skeleton so I can copy :)

  13. 15

    whoa I love this lamp shade what a cool idea!!

  14. 16

    Wowzers! That is just TOO adorable! I love all the different colors. PERFECT for a girls room or a craft room. I think it would look great on a stand alone lamp as a shade too.

  15. 17

    What a great idea! I have two little lamps that have had me stumped, but this gives me ideas…

  16. 18


  17. 19

    LOVE IT!

    And I LOVE the color of their room!

    I enjoy my boy/girl combo I’ve got right now, but I’m secretly DYING for another girl so Josie and her can share a room! I never had a sister and think sharing a room is magical!

    I’m sure they will disagree!

  18. 20

    Super cute! Good job.

  19. 21

    I LOVE this!! I have to say I was a little scared of the first one ; ) But this really is SO stinkin’ cute!! Perfect for a little girl’s room, but I could see it elsewhere as well!

  20. 22

    I LOVE this!! How original, cute and creative!!! I can’t wait to show my daughter. I bet she will love it too! I may link this on my blog next week, if you don’t care.

    Brandy @ Brandy Designs

  21. 23

    Fun! Love all the colors!

  22. 24

    It’s a total home run!

  23. 25

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!!

  24. 26

    LOVE it!! way to push through til the right solution hit – it’s perfect!

  25. 27

    Oh my goodness! That is awesome! I am going to run and find a lampshade rip all the fabric off and cover it in strips of fabric immediatley! Wow. This may be the coolest project ever! Love love love! Amazing work! You are so dang creative I can’t stand it!

  26. 28

    Totally in love. Now I wannt to go home and rip the fabric off of every lampshade in my house … so, thanks for that. ;)

  27. 29

    Very cute and fun!

  28. 30

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this! It is adorable!

  29. 31

    I was liking the white and then didn’t like the “fiesta”… but really like the final shade – very fun!

  30. 32

    Love, love, love! Seriously! And perfect for a girls room!

  31. 33

    Don’t you just love when you get an idea and you know you just have to do it NOW! Very cute:)

  32. 34

    My favorite are the first two…for an adult. The one that you ended up with is so fun, colorful, and playful…perfect for your girls’ room.

  33. 35

    Love it!

  34. 36

    Oh my gosh I LOVE it! If I ever come across one of those skeletons now I have some great inspiration! Itd be great for my girls room b/c they love to play with my fabric scraps. I could even let them help me make it:)

  35. 37

    One word: AWESOME.

  36. 38

    thank you for this – i have an old lampshade in the shed outside…now, i think i know what i’ll do with it.

  37. 39

    Super fun! Especially the shadow!

  38. 40

    that turned out so cute!! I too loved the all white ruffle, and of course I still love the bare urban style one {which I have a large one hanging over my dining room table}, but that ripped and tied fabric pieces…totally adorable for a girls room. I love it at night too. nice job Linds!

  39. 41

    i love these lampshades!! they are beautiful, and so easy to make, i can’t wait to try!

  40. 42

    I LOVE it! I am such a fabric person and this is a great way to showcase some of your favorites! It’s so funny that you posted this today, because I also posted about using a skeleton lamp shade this week. Only I turned mine in toa hair bow holder.

    Now I’ll have to go search for another lampshade that I can make into a fun scrappy shade!

  41. 43

    so cute! what a great idea! i like both versions, but the shadow the second version casts is so fun for the kiddos!

    great job, again!

  42. 44
    connie libby says:

    I loooove it! I wasn’t sure at first, but then when I scrolled down and saw it finished I just fell in love! It is so funky and pretty! Great job!

  43. 45

    LOVE! I’ve got just the lampshade to do this to!

  44. 46

    you are a GENIOUS!! that is fabulous. looks like i’m now shopping for a lampshade :)

  45. 47

    Oh my heck that is soooo stinkin’ cute! I looooove it!!!

  46. 48

    oh i LOVE this! so cute. you know what’s fun about using fabric scraps that you have right now, is that when these fabrics have retired, you’ll look at this lampshade and remember *this season* of your life. the fabrics you use every day, all the sewing, the kids, etc. i’ve done this on projects and when i look at the fabrics i always think, aww that was my favorite. very cute lindsey, now if i could only find a nake lampshade!!!

  47. 49

    100% AWESOME. I love it.

  48. 50

    I love it. You amaze me.

  49. 51

    Awesome! I think you just added a new product to your list!

  50. 52

    Very pretty and clever!

  51. 53

    GORGEOUS! What an awesome way to use leftover fabric. Reminds me of something that would cost hundreds from Anthro!

  52. 54

    So cool!!

  53. 55

    Love Love Love it! Which I had a place to hang one…or even one to make!!

  54. 56

    lindsey, the lamp shade is absolutely stunning! what a great idea! it looks so beautiful, day and night. nice work crafty lady!

  55. 57

    all kinds of cuteness.

  56. 58

    The lampshade looks so pretty! I love the shadows in casts on the wall and ceiling.

  57. 59

    LOVE this!! So adorable!!

  58. 60

    I love it! This makes me wish I had a place for a hanging lamp so that I could make one!

  59. 61

    Fabulously fun!

  60. 62

    love it and GREAT inspiration for my lampshade I need to recover in my living room!

  61. 63

    That is beautiful!!! Love it anytime you can use up scraps!!!

  62. 64

    Love this….so cute!!

  63. 65

    This is adorable!! I want to try it, too! I am thinking you could have different ones for different holidays as well.

  64. 66

    Super fun!

  65. 67

    I’ve had a lamp shade frame for a long time, and I LOVE what you’ve done with yours! Yeah for a great idea!!!

  66. 68

    OMG, that looks fantastic! I LOVE it! Thanks for sharing!

  67. 69

    Very cute and SO creative! I loved your first incarnation as well. :)

  68. 70


  69. 71

    Amazing! You are a very talented lady!
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  70. 72

    ADORABLE! that just looks so fun.

  71. 73

    Very wonderful. Messy, sweet, beautiful. Love it! I’m sure it looks great with their whole room!

  72. 74

    Love it!

  73. 75

    It is absolutely awesome and perfect, unique and beautiful! I want it!! LOL You are so creative!!

  74. 76

    What do I think????? I think that is the cutest lampshade I have ever seen. Just absolutely love it!!! I am sure that my girls would too.

  75. 77
    Carol Dichmann says:

    That is FLIPPIN adorable!!!! You are a genius!

  76. 78

    awesome! i’ve been struggling over what to do with my lampshades in my master bedroom for a couple years now! i am totally copying, but i think i’ll go with all white! :) thanks so so much!

  77. 79

    Adore! It’s so cute – this might need to go on my “projects to try” list. And I clearly need to take up sewing of some sort so that I have fun scraps to play with ;)

  78. 80

    Oh, what a pretty, happy little lampshade!! Too cute.

  79. 81

    Is it terrible to admit that I actually preferred the “fiesta FAIL”?! I love the creativity of the current incarnation, but preferred the aesthetic of the previous version. Either way, you’re way more creative than i am. :)

  80. 82

    So cool! I think it looks great!

  81. 83

    Oh, I love it!! It looks fantastic!!

  82. 84

    I love it!!

  83. 85

    OH MY! It makes me happy!

  84. 86

    I am flipping out right now this is sooooo cool!!! I want one now! This is the best thing I have seen in a long time. thanks for making my night!

  85. 87

    I Love it!

  86. 88

    i think….this is so cool!!

  87. 89

    i’m loving it, lindsey!

  88. 90

    that is too cute!! what an original, homemade with love light for your girls!

  89. 91

    ADORABLE!!!! So cute!!!!

  90. 92

    Lindsey, wow. That is all I can say. This is truly beautiful and I LOVE the raw/unique look it has. Its fun, different, and so colorful! Thanks for the great inspiration!


  91. 93

    Lindsey, this is so neat! A while back you said you try to use every piece of fabric possible and this is such a creative way to do so! How fun and colorful!

  92. 94

    I love it, very cute….the shadows are wonderful. Yous still have the bare look and the girls are happy too.

  93. 95

    Beautiful! I love the colours and I love that it was a ‘long story’ to get you here! I love reading about how people had something in mind, changed their minds and then the final product is dreamy!
    L.O.V.E. your blog:)

  94. 96

    So the girls aren’t afraid of the webs? Really great, Lindsey. Love all your ideas. Got my fabric, too. Thanks. It’s great. hugs

  95. 97

    I LOVE this!!! Great job!

  96. 98

    I LOVE it!! I just came across your blog and I’m thoroughly enjoying some fresh inspiration!

  97. 99

    Love Love Love!

  98. 100

    Love it!! Need to keep my eye out for one to do the same thing to!

  99. 101

    I wish my Mom had made something like this for me and my sisters! maybe if I do it in camo it will fit in my household now.

  100. 102

    I just LOVE that and I will be doing that for my daughter’s room! I love how you show your process!!

  101. 103

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this! Just found your blog today from At Second Street! Can’t wait to keep poking around to see what else I can find!


  102. 104

    What a cute idea, and a good way to get rid of all those scraps!

  103. 105

    I love that last design, so cute Lindsey!!!!!

  104. 106

    This is the cutest idea ever!! I want one for my baby girls room~!

  105. 107

    Well I haven’t done a lot of smiling lately because my mom died on March 2, 2011 but this made me smile I love your little zippered clutches I sew bags but haven’t touched my machine since 2 weeks before my mom died no time. I am originally from the central coast so to hear you talk about Santa Barbara was nice as well it brought back some fond memories of camping at lake Cachuma . Thank you for the smile.

  106. 108

    Absolutely fantastic. I have had a naked lampshade sitting in my craft room for a year now. THis is just perfect for it. Thanks so much for the inspiration!!

  107. 109

    I am so in love with it! I’m going to have to make one for MY bedroom! HA! Oh yes. I will. :)

  108. 110

    I love this lampshade! Very cool. I featured it on my blog:

    Feel free to grab my Featured Button if you like!

  109. 111

    Very Creative and Very Cute! Thank you for sharing your awesome idea. :)

  110. 112

    I love this! Totally fun. Pinning it now. :)

  111. 113

    What an inspiring idea! I am trying it with extra ribbon trim. Thanks! I love your project.

  112. 114

    um….this is awesome.
    i love it.
    i betcha i commented here before but i had to again.

  113. 115

    Such cute ideas. Thanks for the tips!

  114. 116
    rozevelyn says:

    I had a metal lampshade from the 70s. I loved your idea but did mine in more of a honeycomb design. I can’t wait to finish it. Thanks for sharing

  115. 117

    Thanks for the tutorial & constant inspiration!! I made one for my baby girls room and showed it here:

  116. 118

    I have also made a lampshade modelled on this one. Thanks for the great idea!

  117. 119

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! It was just what I needed for my little girl’s room…I put a picture of it on my blog if you are interested in seeing it. Again, thank you for the inspiration!

  118. 120
    Angela kruep says:

    Absolutely love this. I have been going crazy trying to figure out the best shade for the sewing lamp I made. Ill post pick when it’s all complete.

  119. 121
    Brandi Guidry says:

    This is awesome. I have 2 bare lamps in my daughters’ room (I have 4 daughters, 3 of which share a room) and this would be perfect! I just re-did their room. I painted the walls white and put peace sign stickers on the wall along with some of my glitter art. This would be a perfect finish for their room.

  120. 122

    Found this on Pinterest and have been pinning it everywhere! ADORABLE! I can’t wait to try this myself and I’m NOT a crafty girl … you made it look “do-able”.
    Thanks so much and keep all those blogs and ideas coming.
    Folks like you give the rest of us hope!

  121. 123

    This is such a cute idea! I’m attempting to make one for my dorm room. This may be an silly question, but how do you cut the fabric strips without the edges fraying? Thanks for the awesome project!

  122. 124

    This is breathtaking! I love it! If I replaced the fabric with yarn (I don’t have many fabric scraps, but I have lots of yarn!), would it be ok with the heat of the bulb so close to it?

  123. 125

    I loved this idea so went straight to the grotty old lamp in my daughter’s room and cut off the plastic backed cotton covering so that I could do the same…but it didn’t have vertical supports in the frame. Oops!
    So I improvised and tied my strips from top to bottom instead! I sectioned the top and bottom ’rounds’ into thirds, layout my colours in one long line and sectioned them into thirds, and off I went.
    I wish I could show you a photo! It looks fantastic.
    Thanks for the inspiration. :D

  124. 126

    great results and love how u are open to ur environment and surroundings..i have a naked bulb on a wire and a shade…but…im wondering..guess u had to re build ur light after putting the shade on..where can i find how to do that without risking a fire hazard ?…lol

    • 127

      hi des!

      we actually hadn’t hung a fixture in that spot yet, so we were able to add the shade while we were hardwiring the fixture in. i am not sure the exact best way to do it, but i always do a google search first. i’m sure you could even find some video tutorials!


  125. 128

    I actually like the first one better!

  126. 129

    I liked both the white ruffle shade and the final one. I could see the white one in a ladies bedroom. I have a frame that I have kept for years that is now going to be covered, having found this wonderful idea. Thanks for sharing.

  127. 130

    Your lampshade is fantastic and far better than the typical, boring, white one that you get from a store. I read the comment about not being able to use this idea in a boy’s room, but what if you did it in denim? Old worn out jeans still have some life in them and might be pretty amazing in a boy’s room, especially if you use various shades of faded denim. Just a thought.

  128. 131

    Great idea! What color of blue paint is that in your girls’ room? I have been searching for the perfect blue!

    • 132

      unfortunately, thats one of the colors i don’t know the name of! i have used a color called mermaid’s net by behr that i love, and used on our sofa table. definitely check that out, its pretty close to the girls’ wall color.


      • 133

        I love that color too! I wanted that but ended up with a sort of turquoise and boy is it bright/in your face, LOL!

  129. 134

    Beautiful, I’m going to do one! Thank you!

  130. 135

    Love it. Will save this one for a granddaughter.

  131. 136

    I guess I’m weird, but I like the white one with the colored trim much better!
    But if I were to make the other one I was wondering if you couldn’t just tie all of the strips together then sort of weave the long strip around the bars. I guess you’d want to make a ball out of it to make the weaving easier. Thanks for the idea.

  132. 137

    i love this!
    do you remember where you purchased the light kit?

  133. 139
    Marilyn Murphy-Mancilla says:

    The lamp shade is so whimsical; so lively with color! Absolutely, one of the most creative items I’ve seen made with scraps of fabric. You, go, girl, your creativity is awesome!
    Marilyn from Sacramento

  134. 140

    Absolutely brilliant! I love the lampshade and it made me feel quite excited.. love it love it! thanks
    .. Sue UK

  135. 141

    p.s. you have given me an idea for covering a lampshade that I need in my living room… I have made a “collage” of crazy patchwork with embellishments and I am wondering if I can do a lampshade the same way… I never thought of making my own lampshade until I saw yours… you have given me inspiration for another project!

  136. 142

    I LOVE IT… So nice…
    I want to do the same but tie them onto a curtain rod and now can make a matching lamp shade on a small in the light low watt lamp. Would like to do this in my bathroom but I’m not sure how I would have the shower curtain match. Not sure how I would do a shower curtain on this idea. ANY IDEAS HERE? I have been looking all over to see how to make my own shade. I did read that fabric and paper can catch fire. One site said spray a Flame retardant on your fabric before you use it so won’t catch fire.
    Then I seen another one that said using anything for the lamp shade itself other than special lamp shade paper will cause a fire. Paper you use to stick on your fabric so it is safe from fire is called, Pressure Sensitive Styene. Can be bought online at
    I leave most of my lamps on for long periods of time. Sometimes we go out and leave a few on as well. Just be sure to check the fabric if its not protected or that special lampshade backing isn’t on it and make sure it’s not getting hot. Don’t leave it on when your not at home. Thank you for the great idea…

  137. 143
    Elisabeth says:

    Love it! I was looking for a way to reuse an ugly old light fixture and I think I found it!Thanks!😃

  138. 144

    What a great idea. I have two lampshades that need to be redone. Now I know exactly what to do with them. Thank you!!!!

  139. 145
    Terry McAfee says:

    I just love the shade and thinking that I will make it for my sewing room I have a lamp beside my sewing machine and I think that it will give me more light to see by as well as making my room more of me. Male counter part Terry

  140. 146

    Fabulous. You are creative

  141. 147

    Such a cute idea. We have all ceiling recessed lighting in this house and I only own one actual floor lamp….sigh. But the first shade you made ..the white with the decorative trim around the bottom is more my style if I were to make one. Its more elegant… The other a little too messy for me.

  142. 148

    Did you tie the ends in a certain type of knot? I’m ready to make all the strips cut and can’t wait to see the finished piece.

  143. 149

    I really like it. I have a broken shade I can take off the frame so I can try this.

  144. 150

    I’m in the midst of making my own. Thank you for your tutorial.
    Question: Did you spray with a fire retardant spray?
    If so, what brand do you recommend, if not, you should.
    Thanks :)

    • 151

      i didn’t spray it with anything, mostly because the light bulb was pretty far from the fabric, as in a standard lamp shade, but that is a great suggestion. as for taking care of that now, well we’ve since sold the house and that shade has been down for quite awhile as my son had moved into that room! enjoy your project!

  145. 152
    Tracee Anderson says:

    Love your idea!

  146. 153

    Aces to you Tracee. I am of the same mind, all my rugs in my house used to be some thing else. Tee Hee
    But they look fabulous and I don’t tell.
    Marilyn in Arizona.

  147. 154

    Thanks for posting the post, great results, and love how u are open to our environment and surroundings..i have a naked bulb on a wire and a shade…but…I’m wondering..guess u had to rebuild ur light after putting the shade on..where can i find how to do that without risking a fire hazard.

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